Forward Through Ferguson | St. Louis Public Radio

Forward Through Ferguson

Cornell Young, 18, of Kirkwood, votes at the St. Louis County Board Of Elections on Oct. 25, 2018.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Community activists in St. Louis are trying to persuade black people to register to vote by reminding them of voter suppression efforts across the country.

Organizers held the first meeting for the initiative We Are The Change this week to kick off voter engagement efforts across the city and St. Louis County. 

The initiative aims to convince those who have long thought that the system does not work for them that their votes can make a difference, said Justin Idleburg, who founded We Are The Change.

Rebeccah Bennett (left), Karishma Furtado (middle) and David Dwight (right) announce the publication of the State of Police Reform report. September 16, 2019
Chad Davis

A report from Forward Through Ferguson concluded that police departments in the St. Louis region have not enacted sufficient reforms to ensure racial equity in the way they police communities. 

The nonprofit organization released the State of Police Reform report late Monday. The report examined the Ferguson Police Department, the North County Police Cooperative and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department between 2014 and 2019.

Among its conclusions are that a growing number of activists engaged in reform are dissatisfied with the current state of policing and that the region needs a public safety model that does not rely on incarceration.

From left, Mark Smith, Brenda Talent and Bill Freivogel joined host Don Marsh for this month’s Legal Roundtable discussion.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, the monthly Legal Roundtable convened to discuss current legal news locally and nationally. The recent national court proceedings involving Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort started off the conversation, which evolved from there to touch on topics including the election of Wesley Bell as St. Louis County prosecutor, opioids and district gerrymandering.

Forward Through Ferguson catalysts (from left) Yinka Faleti, Karishma Furtado and David Dwight discussed their organization’s newly released assessment of progress toward racial equity in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For members of the Forward Through Ferguson team, the past few years have been full of work that feels important and exciting – and also excruciatingly slow.

The organization this week unveiled its “State of the Report,” a tool that aims to quantitatively track progress toward racial equity in light of the initial Ferguson Commission, and in only five of 47 key areas does the data suggest significant change thus far.

“There’s definitely frustration in [the ongoing work] and always a hope that things can be more urgent,” David Dwight, senior strategy and partnerships catalyst, said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “At the same time, I think we’ve had to find excitement in those who are implementing the calls to action from the report [and] to see the way that our region has taken on racial equity.”

The Rev. Carlton Lee, right, speaks at a rally in 2014 with Michael Brown Sr., left, and Lezley McSpadden, center.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Forward Through Ferguson has called for improvement in several areas to establish greater racial equity within St. Louis.

The non-profit released its first The State of the Report scoring where the region is on the 47 signature calls to action first identified by the Ferguson Commission in 2015. The latest report found that all 47 priorities have experienced some level of implementation, but only five of those had been achieved.

People protest against the criminalization of poverty in downtown St. Louis in on July 21, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Forward Through Ferguson is encouraging locals to imagine a St. Louis devoid of racial inequity by the year 2039.

That year will mark 25 years since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The non-profit group released a preliminary action plan on Wednesday, in which community leaders and residents considered benchmark goals for the next three years. A full report will be available in June.

Rebeccah Bennett and Zack Boyers joined St. Louis on the Air tomorrow to discsuss what Forward Through Ferguson is working on.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“We live in the same world, but don’t share the same reality. Realities are as unique as fingerprints.”

So says Rebeccah Bennett, one of two new co-chairs of Forward Through Ferguson.

Forward Through Ferguson is the organization that grew out of the Ferguson Commission, which was created by former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in response to events that unfolded in Ferguson following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in August of 2014.

Forward Through Ferguson's Nicole Hudson is joining St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson's administration.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Hudson I Lindy Drew

St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson has hired a woman who’s twice worked to help institute policy changes in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s 2014 shooting death.

Normandy Superintendent Charles Pearson agreed to a list of principles to reduce suspensions on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 14 9:45 a.m. with results of the assembly — By the 2018-2019 school year at least four school districts in the St. Louis area could have policies banning out of school suspensions for their youngest students.

At a regional assembly on suspensions Sunday evening, the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District pledged to ban out of school suspensions for pre-K through 3rd grade next school year. Ladue and Normandy committed to doing the same the following year. St. Louis Public Schools enacted their own ban this school year.

Members of the Ferguson Commission lead a moment of reflection on Monday in St. Louis. The Commission held its final meeting in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Since its inception, the Ferguson Commission faced doubters wondering whether a group of gubernatorial appointees could heal decades-long divides throughout St. Louis. And before she joined on as the commission’s communications director, Nicole Hudson shared some of that skepticism.